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Senior ICE Lawyer Admits Stealing $190,000 Using Immigrants’ IDs

Using the Immigration and Customs Enforcement computer system and hard-copy immigration records, the former chief counsel of ICE’s Office of Principal Legal Advisor in Seattle stole immigrant identities, obtained Social Security cards and driver’s licenses in their names, and used those to apply for credit cards.

Raphael A. Sanchez then “made charges or drew payments totaling more than $190,000 in the names of aliens to himself or entities that he controlled, often using PayPal and mobile point of sale devices from Amazon, Square, Venmo and Coin to process fraudulent Internet transactions,” according to a Feb. 15 Justice Department statement. Sanchez pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft on Feb. 15 and will be sentenced May 21.

All seven of the people whose identities Sanchez stole were “in various stages of immigration removal proceedings,” the Justice Department said. As chief counsel, Sanchez was responsible for those proceedings in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

“While I am appalled by these egregious, independent acts of criminal misconduct by Mr. Sanchez, I am grateful to the men and women of ICE who do their job with the utmost professionalism every day, including those in the Seattle Office of Chief Counsel,” said ICE Acting Director Thomas D. Homan in the statement.

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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